Whiskey Rebellion

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Whiskey Rebellion,

1794, uprising in the Pennsylvania counties W of the Alleghenies, caused by Alexander HamiltonHamilton, Alexander,
1755–1804, American statesman, b. Nevis, in the West Indies. Early Career

He was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton (of a prominent Scottish family) and Rachel Faucett Lavien (daughter of a doctor-planter on Nevis and the estranged
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's excise tax of 1791. The settlers, mainly Scotch-Irish, for whom whiskey was an important economic commodity, resented the tax as discriminatory and detrimental to their liberty and economic welfare. There were many public protests, and rioting broke out in 1794 against the central government's efforts to enforce the law. Troops called out by President Washington quelled the rioting, and resistance evaporated. Nevertheless Hamilton sought to make an example of the settlers and illustrate the newly created government's power to enforce its law; many were arrested. President Washington pardoned the two rebels who were convicted of treason. The tax was repealed in 1802.


See L. D. Baldwin, Whiskey Rebels (rev. ed. 1967); W. Hogeland, The Whiskey Rebellion (2006).

Whiskey Rebellion


an uprising in 1794 of US farmers against oppressive taxation. The rebellion was in part caused by a law the American Congress passed in 1791, at the initiative of Secretary of the Treasury A. Hamilton, establishing an excise on grain liquor. The farmers of western Pennsylvania refused to pay the tax and drove the collectors away, killing several of them. In the summer of 1794 the rebels created leadership bodies—committees of correspondence—which urged resistance to the authorities. A meeting in Parkinson’s Ferry in August 1794 took up the question of creating a committee of public safety and transferring all power to it. The rebellion was suppressed in the autumn of 1794 by 15,000 troops under Hamilton’s command.


Rochester, A. Amerikanskii kapitalizm, 1607–1800. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from English.)
Baldwin, L. D. Whiskey Rebels. Pittsburgh, Pa., 1939.

Whiskey Rebellion

uprising in Pennsylvania over high tax on whiskey and scotch products (1794). [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2967]
See: Riot
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